Accusations of criminal fraud can result in some serious criminal penalties. Depending on the state and the crime, fraud can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Some fraud crimes carry increasing penalties depending on the losses suffered by the victim, while other fraud crimes impose severe penalties based solely on the fraudulent plan or scam. For example, a person convicted of federal mail fraud faces up to 20 years in prison.
Being tried in state or federal court means you'll have to face the toughest prosecutors with evidence that will land you in jail. You should also have a strong legal team. These crimes can be as broad as postal or healthcare fraud or as specific as bank insurance fraud or prescription opioid fraud. An attorney can also argue that the defendant was forced to commit the fraudulent act because he received threats of violence and would not have otherwise committed the crime.
The purpose of pursuing both a criminal fraud case and a civil fraud case is to obtain justice and punish the offender, but the punishments that result from a guilty verdict are very different. The greater the amount of money involved and the greater the victim of the fraud, the more severe the penalties will be. This means that the person who commits an act of fraud could break federal and state laws at the same time and be prosecuted by both. Counterfeiting is considered a serious crime in all 50 states and the penalties range from community service and probation to jail and restitution (reimbursing the defrauded party for lost money).
Fraud fines are very common and, like imprisonment sentences, can differ significantly depending on the circumstances of the case. Civil fraud does not entail the possibility of imprisonment or fines, while criminal fraud can result in both.